For almost 10 years, a Saint-Saëns organization has helped schools in Benin

In this elementary school in Boukombé, many books have been distributed thanks to the association of Saint-Saënaise. (© Association Exchanges France Benin)

To learn to read, write and count, lessons that Beninese teachers try to pass on to their students every day.

And thanks for the association Change to France Beninaccording to Saint-Saens (Seine-Maritime)dictionaries, textbooks and books support them.

Provide educational materials

During a trip to Benin “I was surprised by the lack of educational equipment in schools, he explained Alain Bailleulsecretary of Échanges France Benin association.

I began to wonder how to help them.

Therefore, with suitcases of French dictionaries the latter went to the country to provide schools with them, for the first time in 2014.

And very quickly, “we realized that there was a great need for dictionaries, but also for textbooks and books”, confesses Alain Bailleul and the president of the association, Michèle Sobry Germain.

widely used textbooks. (© Association Exchanges France Benin)

“That their children can read, write and count”

From suitcases, they therefore moved to containers to ship the works.

Twice a year, they travel to the city of Boucombe and go to the schools to carry out the distributions themselves “and all this, thanks to the help of a motorcycle taxi company that provides transportation”, they detailed.

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50 tons in almost 10 years

Since 2014, 50 tons of structures have passed between France and Benin. And 35 tons are waiting to leave at the end of January. Alain and Michèle will be there again in March to follow the delivery to the schools.

To ensure the destination of dictionaries, textbooks and books and that they remain in schools, “a contract was signed with the parents of students and teachers”, they said.

And what they observed during their trip, “is the desire of parents that their children know how to read, write and count”, said Alain and Michèle.

And add:

It is necessary to understand how it works in the field. Depending on the needs, we target our contributions. For example, by giving them French, maths, SVT and physics-chemistry manuals depending on the level.

The success rate increases

Educational tools that serve many students.

Thanks to them, for example, the pass rate for the first cycle study certificate (BEPC) increased from 30 to 90% in one of the secondary schools in Boukombé where we distributed them. This shows the importance of tools for teachers and students.

Alain and Michele

An example that led two volunteers to do this for all the town’s high schools.

The packages arrived… (© Association Exchanges France Benin)

“Schools are created if parents are motivated”

They also provide assistance to elementary schools and kindergartens, which are few in the country.

Teachers have found that books, dolls, stuffed animals and puzzles encourage parents to send their children to school, they say. And in Benin, schools are created if parents are motivated. So, thanks to various works, we showed them that there is interest.

The association Échanges France Bénin often collaborates with the association Livres sans frontières, but also the Emmaüs community of Notre-Dame-de-Bondeville, the Emmaüs center of Esteville and many other actors, such as schools in the area, libraries, but also individuals.

Alone, we can do nothing. We need all the links in the chain to help them.

Alain and Michele

And in conclusion: “If there is one thing that people in French-speaking countries with weak economic power can give, it is a dictionary. It is not only the basic tool, but an important and very useful asset for their future”.

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